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Young golfers look to end fall on high note

Another strong field awaits Raiders today

October 18, 2010 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - As the fall golf season comes to a close for the Middle Tennessee men's team, Coach Whit Turnbow knows he has to keep things in perspective. While he admits to being a little frustrated with the inconsistency of three true freshmen and a sophomore playing over half of his team's rounds so far, he also knows there are factors other than young players just being young players.

"I can't lose sight of the strength of the fields that we have played in the last four weeks, and will again this week," pointed out Turnbow. "There has been some really tough competition. For instance, we finished 10th in the tournament at Duke last week, and this week we moved up four spots in the national rankings."

And it will be that way again on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 18th - 19th, at LSU. The Bengal Tigers host the David Toms Invitational at the County Club of Louisiana in Baton Rouge. Included in the field are seven teams ranked in the top 70 in the nation. Leading the way is host LSU ( 3rd), followed by Arkansas (10th), SE Louisiana (49th), North Florida (53rd), Louisiana Tech (55th), Ole Miss (67th) and Middle Tennessee logs in at 68th. In all, there will be nine teams in the top 100.

"I have to keep things in perspective, look at the big picture and the experience that these guys are picking up. Every week that we go somewhere, we are putting these guys in a situation that they haven't been put in before."

The tournament will be 36 holes today, 18 on Tuesday. And it will be on a newly re-designed course that just reopened last Thursday, a 6,849 yard, par 72 challenge.

All season, Turnbow has relied on senior Jason Millard and to set the pace, and he's done it. Millard has finished in the Top Ten in three of the four fall tournaments and in the top five in two of them. His stroke average of 70.9 leads the team, and is two strokes under his career average.

Freshman Brett Patterson is next with a 72. 7 average, followed by junior Hunter Green at 72.8. Patterson has one Top Five finish and two Top Tens. Sophomore Brad Simons and freshmen Jordan Jennings and Paul Sansom are all lumped together between 75.3 and 75.7 strokes per round. Looking ahead to the big picture, Turnbow wants very much to have a strong showing at LSU.

"The thing about the last tournament of the fall, you want to go out on a positive note, something that you can build on through the winter. All of them have played well in spurts. For some reason, we have a tendency to get two or three of them going at a time, but we need all five of them going at the same time.

"These guys are picking up valuable experience as they go, and the more tournaments they play in, the better they are going to get. So we'll be ready to go."

This will mark the "almost halfway" point of the season for the Blue Raiders with five tournaments in the fall and seven more in the spring.

Tournament live scoring and results from LSU will be on GolfStat.com today and Tuesday.

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